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Filmmaker Adam Mason: “Being a creative person has brought me so much joy, but it also comes with a lot of depression and hardship; It’s important to realize that all of that comes with the territory”

…I think you need to brace yourself for a lot of highs and lows. Being a creative person has brought me so much joy, but it also comes with a lot of depression and hardship. I think it’s important to realize that all of that comes with the territory, and you need to figure out […]


…I think you need to brace yourself for a lot of highs and lows. Being a creative person has brought me so much joy, but it also comes with a lot of depression and hardship. I think it’s important to realize that all of that comes with the territory, and you need to figure out ways to deal with the crushing blows that inevitably come your way. I remember the first time I got a bad review, for example. It’s so soul destroying, especially after you’ve put your heart and soul into something. And that’s only gotten worse in the past few years, where now, because of social media, everyone is a critic. More and more I’ve come to realize the importance of doing this for myself and trying hard to not care what other people think of me or the things I made. Which is a weird paradox, I suppose, because of the very nature of what I do. After all, I’m an entertainer. There is still stuff I battle with, but I wish I’d been better emotionally prepared for it when I was younger. I’ve been very blessed to have a lot of very close working relationships, particularly with my writing partner Simon, who I have worked with for 15 years. Having each other to bounce back has really helped. We often talk about not knowing how writers are able to do it alone, because the industry can be so toxic and cruel. Simon and I basically alternate our darker days and help each other get through the million and one times we’ve both wanted to give up.


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Adam Mason. Adam is the director of Into The Dark: They Come Knocking, which is streaming nationwide on Hulu. Adam Mason is a director known for his low budget horror movies that include BROKEN, which he co-directed with Simon Boyes, JUNKIE, THE DEVIL’S CHAIR, and PIG. Adam most recently directed I’M JUST F’ING WITH YOU, which screened at SXSW, and THEY COME KNOCKING for Blumhouse and Hulu. As a writer, Adam and Simon Boyes are currently adapting the bestselling videogame THIEF for Vertigo and Straight-Up Films and writing THE MECHANIC 3 for Millennium and Jason Statham. They also wrote the action-thriller THE LIST for Barry Films and sold their thriller MISCONDUCT to Skydance as a pitch. In addition, they are currently developing the feature DISCOVERY with David Heyman producing.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Pretty much like anyone else, I’m sure! I grew up in the middle of nowhere, in a beautiful little village in England, and I always dreamed of making movies.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I saw Jaws when I was about eight, and became obsessed with it. Over time, I started to realize that someone put the film together, and that he’d made some other films I really loved, like ET. By the time I hit my teens, I knew I wanted to be a director.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

It was very hard trying to get noticed in England. Simon and I are from a very rural area and had no contacts in the film industry whatsoever. So doing something to put us on the map was a real challenge. In 2004, we started making a film called Broken, we shot over two years and made it for less than $5000. It was a true labor of love, and ultimately won a lot of awards, opening the door for us to move to LA. It was a very, very, very difficult film to make, but if we hadn’t done that we wouldn’t be here now.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There’s probably too many mistakes to list. I’m still making them to this day. Each project is so different from the last, I feel like I’m always learning. Sometimes when I’m doing camera stuff, I forget to press record. That’s quite embarrassing, isn’t it!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

For the past year, I’ve been doing a project called Black Antenna for a band known as Alice in Chains. It’s basically a series of 10 music videos that will also be released as a standalone feature film. I’m very proud and excited by that one.

I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

For the past decade or so, I think film has become so stagnant because middle class white guys, like me, have had their stories told to death.

From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask really; I’ve always just done my own thing. One thing I would say is that, I’ve really enjoyed trying to learn every aspect of the filmmaking process: directing, writing, producing, lighting, camera, editing, music and so on. I’m not necessarily good at all of them, but it’s really helped me to know what I want and to understand how it feels to be in the shoes of the multitude of people it takes to make a film. That has really benefited me, and it also allows me to be self-sufficient if I must be. And that’s paid the bills for the last fifteen years or so.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I think you need to brace yourself for a lot of highs and lows. Being a creative person has brought me so much joy, but it also comes with a lot of depression and hardship. I think it’s important to realize that all of that comes with the territory, and you need to figure out ways to deal with the crushing blows that inevitably come your way. I remember the first time I got a bad review, for example. It’s so soul destroying, especially after you’ve put your heart and soul into something. And that’s only gotten worse in the past few years, where now, because of social media, everyone is a critic. More and more I’ve come to realize the importance of doing this for myself and trying hard to not care what other people think of me or the things I made. Which is a weird paradox, I suppose, because of the very nature of what I do. After all, I’m an entertainer.

There is still stuff I battle with, but I wish I’d been better emotionally prepared for it when I was younger. I’ve been very blessed to have a lot of very close working relationships, particularly with my writing partner Simon, who I have worked with for 15 years. Having each other to bounce back has really helped. We often talk about not knowing how writers are able to do it alone, because the industry can be so toxic and cruel. Simon and I basically alternate our darker days and help each other get through the million and one times we’ve both wanted to give up.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Find people who have your back. Don’t take anything too personally.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I don’t think I’m a person with any influence at all! But thank you.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There’s an amazing guy, Wayne Rice, who has produced some very big movies. He took Simon and I under his wing about a decade ago, and mentored us. Pretty much everything we know now about the craft of writing has come from his teaching. Once in a while someone comes into your life, and for whatever reason selflessly helps you. Wayne did that for us, and I don’t think we’d be where we are now if it weren’t for him. I hope I get to do that for someone one day.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

These are really hard questions 🙂

I always liked the quote ‘before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.’ It’s so hard not to get dragged into the toxicity of the modern world. There is so much negativity everywhere, and I find it so easy to get swept into it. I personally, don’t want to get out of bed in the morning if I don’t feel excited by an idea, and sometimes circumstances conspire to take hostage of your emotions and feelings. I really need to roll with the punches and remind myself that I love what I do, and that’s why I’m doing it. It’s ultimately not for the roar of the crowd; psychology taught me that I can get ten great reviews and one bad one, and the one bad one is like a knife to the heart and the only thing I focus on. Those kinds of negative emotions can become very all consuming, and many times I’ve found myself motivated by the wrong reasons. In those situations, I always try and remind myself that the second grave is always my own.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Nick Cave.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

They can’t. I’m not on it.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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